As much layout as workshop, but this is work in progress, which is why this update is here. Had Belmullet existed, then the loco shed would have been a busy place and no doubt bigger than my modest affair here. In the late 19th & early 20th centuries, potentially four different companies might have visited - MGW, SLNCR, WL&W and GS&W. No doubt each would want coal and water, so it seems appropriate to include a MGW 'fortress' style coal stage. Presumably, the station master [or shed master?] would hold the key and crew would be expected to sign a chitty before they got any coal or water?
The coal and water will be on the next baseboard though, so the subject here is an interesting pair of structures I spotted in a photo in Kevin McCormack's wonderful album 'Irish Railways in the 50s and 60s'. Athlone shed has what looks to me like a sand drying installation, with a small coal bunker one side and a large 'shelf' on the other where sand would be spread to ensure it was dry. Am assuming heat from the coal furnace circulated under the sand shelf to do that. That, at least is what will happen at Belmullet!. Next to the sand drier at Athlone is a shed or bothy, so with so many visiting engine crews, it makes sense to have something like this as well.. Both structures look quite narrow and ideally fit the space available.
The models are very simply made from card and foam board, with Slater's plasticard for the corrugated iron roofs. Detailing is taking more time than actual building, with stuff like a small pile of coal and a larger pile of sand - the latter being chinchilla dust mixed with weathering powders.
A fair bit of time has also been spent on general ground cover & this is still work in progress. Various colour photos in the McCormack book has been studied, looking for colour and texture. The base layer is Polyfilla, mixed with PVA and black acrylic, to get a fairly smooth, somewhat oily finish that you see around sheds, with the ground cover coming above the sleepers. Once dry the whole area is being painted with acrylics - essentially using just black, white and brown - but with added texture from talc and weathering powders. There are also some piles of ash. There is an ash pit in front of the sand drier, so crews can empty the fireboxes. This stuff seems to usually have been fairly light grey in colour, but of mixed size and shape. To create this I mixed at least four or five colours and size of ballast in with a tablespoon of Polyfilla, so it could be set in various sized piles between the two tracks, the front one of which will have an open wagon posed, waiting to be filled. I imagine the SLNCR would be happy to the it away and use as ballast somewhere. More weathering powder and talc is still needed to get the scene looking right, while there also needs to be a further pile of darker ash from the loco smokeboxes.
The green scatter material you can see is just the foundation for static grass, still to come, but I find it does help with visualising the wider scene. Meanwhile, the loco shed itself is on a separate sub-board, because I want to enter it in my club competition, so it will not be finally bedded in until the end of January. The back scene behind the shed has been cut to the shape of the low relief buildings, with a temporary 'skyboard' slotted behind. Have still yet to decide if this will be MDF or a length of roller blind. for the whole layout. The photos show the developing scene and include the signal box and signals to help set the scene thus far.